Which characters are similar in Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that the characters who are most similar to each other in Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream are actually Romeo and Juliet themselves and Hermia and Lysander. If we take a closer look at the circumstances surrounding these characters, their similarities become apparent.

First, both Romeo and Juliet and Hermia and Lysander are young couples who are madly in love, much to the dismay of their future in-laws. Both of these couples have families who wish to marry their respective daughters off to well-off suitors who are wholly unappealing to these unwilling brides. 

In Romeo and Juliet's case, the Capulets have arranged for Juliet to marry Count Paris. Juliet's love for Romeo is forbidden because of the longstanding rivalry between the Capulets and Montagues. When Juliet argues with her father, he threatens to disown her.

In Hermia and Lysander's case, Hermia's father, Egeus, has arranged for her to marry Demetrius. Hermia's love for Lysander is forbidden under ancient Athenian law because it is in violation of her father's marital wishes. When Hermia argues with her father, he threatens to have her killed. 

Both star-crossed sets of lovers make plans to escape their punitive families and impending nuptials: Romeo and Juliet intend to fake Juliet's death, meet in her crypt, and run away. Hermia and Lysander simply run off into the forest.

Only in the success (or lack thereof) of these plans do the couples differ: Romeo and Juliet meet their untimely deaths, while Hermia and Lysander manage to marry and live "happily ever after."